Working Group Invites Campus Community to celebrate OER Initiative at NMU

On Friday, March 15, the Open Educational Resources (OER) Working Group invites you to celebrate Open Education at Northern Michigan University (NMU) at 3 pm in Whitman Commons.

This event recognizes the importance of OER in making higher education more affordable and equitable and acknowledges the work of our OER Faculty Learning Community.  NMU President, Dr. Brock Tessman, will give opening remarks, and the OER FLC members will discuss their projects. A reception will follow.

This year’s OER Faculty Learning Community (FLC) is made up of nine faculty members from eight departments–Jon Barch (Psychological Sciences), Yan Ciupak (Sociology), Nancy Gold (English), Mlado Ivanovic (Philosophy), Kaycee Jacobson (Nursing), Kathryn Johnson (History), Lanae Joubert (Nutrition), Z.Z. Lehmberg (English), and Kathryn Newton (Chemistry). As members of the Faculty Learning Community, they have embarked on projects to incorporate OER into their teaching by adapting existing OER, creating their own OER learning materials, and/or engaging students in open pedagogy projects.

“I'm happy that we are taking time to highlight the work these faculty members are doing. Using Open Educational Resources in the classroom is one of many ways that NMU works to make high quality classes more accessible and more affordable for our students, “ said Leslie Warren, Dean of the Library and Instructional Support (LIS) and Interim Vice Provost of Academic Affairs

Northern Michigan University efforts to increase OER awareness on campus began in 2021, when LIS conducted a survey on OER use on campus. As a result of that survey, Dean Warren convened the OER Working Group to further promote OER use on campus. In Spring 2022, the Working Group surveyed faculty members’ knowledge of and interest in using OERs in their courses and identified faculty and courses currently using OER. They found that several faculty were already using OER and that others were eager to learn more. The Working Group has also heard from students who say that textbook affordability is something that they have struggled with, often having to choose between buying books for their courses and other necessities like food and gas.

With that knowledge, the OER Working Group secured internal funding from the SISU Innovation Fund in Winter 2023 to begin a two year pilot program to incentivize faculty to adopt or adapt OER through a series of professional development activities. The Working Group’s goal is to make courses more affordable for students while maintaining the academic excellence for which NMU is known.

For more information on joining the 2024-25 OER Faculty Learning Community, see the information page

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